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Hike Observation Peak in Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park | Wyoming
Trip Highlights

Top three reasons to hike the Observation Peak

  • Trip Highlight

    Family-friendly backpacking with big view payoffs

  • Trip Highlight

    Rustic fire lookout at the top of the 1,400-foot summit

  • Trip Highlight

    Some of the most impressive scenery in the world

To experience all that Yellowstone has to offer, a guided multi-day tour in the backcountry is the way to go. On this three-day guided adventure, you’ll hike just a few miles a day over mellow terrain — perfect for kids just gaining their hiking legs. Sunrises and sunsets in Yellowstone, cozy camping, delicious prepared meals, and mellow hiking make this the perfect trip for families. Kids will love exploring the abandoned rustic fire lookout at the top of Observation Peak’s 1,400-foot summit. Take in impressive 360-degree views as far as the eye can see and catch a glimpse of wildlife, like moose, bison, various waterfowl and the rare arctic grayling. Lakeside campsites, sleeping under the stars, wildlife sightings, and big views will make this an unforgettable adventure your family will reminisce about for years. Find out more about some of the best (and most photo-worthy) hikes in Yellowstone.

Season

Spring through fall; shoulder seasons less crowded

Nearest city

Bozeman, Montana is a three-hour drive

Duration

3 days

Skill level

Beginner to advanced

Itineraries

Book This Adventure

3-Day Family-Friendly Observation Peak Trek

3 days

Camp along Cascade Lake and experience big views on this family-friendly backpacking trip in Yellowstone National Park. Mellow hikes and low-mileage, you will backpack ten miles over three days, camping in Yellowstone’s incredible backcountry. You’ll take in the epic views of Observation Peak and hike to Grebe Lake — a fantastic spot for wildlife viewing.

Trip Highlights

Itinerary

Day 1

After meeting your guides, you will head to the Cascade Creek Trailhead where your adventure begins! Hike for 2.7 miles to Cascade Lake, make camp and eat lunch while enjoying nature. If your group is feeling energized and wishes to explore the area, opt for a short hike to Grebe Lake for wildlife viewing.

Day 2

After a casual morning at camp and a hearty breakfast, begin your ascent of the Observation Peak. This 2.5 miles steady uphill hike traverses through open meadows and whitebark pine forest before reaching the 1,300-foot summit. Spend time exploring the abandoned rustic fire lookout and take in 360-degree views of Idaho, Wyoming and Montana. Spend the rest of the afternoon hiking for 2.5 miles back to the basecamp.

Day 3

This is your final morning at the camp. Have breakfast, pack up, and hike 2.7 miles back to civilization. You will definitely want to come back as soon as possible!

Things to know

Things to know

Covid measures in Yellowstone

57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.

We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re travelling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Yellowstone please refer to the National Park Service’s website.

Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

What’s included?

What you get on this adventure:

    • An experienced, local rock-climbing guide with extensive knowledge of the area
    • Three full days of hiking in Yellowstone
    • Tents
    • Meals
    • Cookware
    • Stoves and fuel

What’s not included:

    • Transportation to Yellowstone
    • Transportation to the trailhead — can be arranged by the guide
    • Accommodations prior and after the trip
    • Personal clothing and camping gear
    • Snacks
    • 3.5% land use charge

How fit do I need to be?

The best thing about hiking in Yellowstone is that there are incredible options for all skill levels. For beginner hikes, if you can walk for four to six hours with little elevation gain, you are good to go! Intermediate hikes will see a little more change in elevation and hikes will start to increase in length, hiking anywhere between four to eight miles. Advanced hikes are full day treks with steep descents and challenging switchbacks. Keep in mind, the weather in summer can be very hot and you’ll also be packing a daypack filled with water and other things you’ll need throughout the day.

What do I need to bring?

Here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:

    • Day pack large enough to carry all the items listed (around a 25-40L bag)
    • Hiking poles — optional
    • Water bottle or hydration bladder (2L capacity)
    • Lightweight hiking boots or shoes
    • River crossing shoes
    • T-shirt/Sport shirt​ (synthetic)
    • Long sleeve base layer​ (synthetic or wool)
    • Long sleeve cotton shirt​ ​for insects
    • Medium-weight​ p​olar fleece
    • Puffy jacket (​down or synthetic fill, light to medium-weight)
    • Rain jacket (​lightweight)
    • Bottom base layer (lightweight synthetic or wool)
    • Hiking pant​ (synthetic/nylon)
    • Hiking short (synthetic)
    • Rain pant (lightweight)
    • Gaiters — through mid July
    • Down Coat​ (lightweight but warm) — early and late season
    • Fleece Pants — early and late season
    • Balaclava or neck gaiter​ — early and late season
    • Spare clothes for layering
    • Waterproof rain jacket
    • Sunhat
    • Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
    • Bowl, spoon, and insulated mug
    • Drink​ ​mixes
    • Snacks (nuts, dried fruit, snack bars, etc.)
    • Water treatment​: tablets or filter — provided by the guide, but it’s always good to carry extra
    • Bear spray
    • Headlamp or flashlight
    • Sunglasses
    • Camera — optional (but recommended)

Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.

Group sizes and age requirements

Group sizes and prices:

    • The guest to guide ratio for private hiking tours is usually five guests and one guide.
    • Pricing is per person, and the cost decreases as your group grows, making it the perfect opportunity to hike with friends and family.

If your hiking party is larger than five people, please contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

Min. age requirements:

    • Anyone over the age of 18 can join these day-hiking tours
    • Minors younger than 18 may join these day-hiking tours, but only on a case-by-case basis

If you plan to hike with anyone under the age of 18, please contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

Getting there and meeting location

The park has five entrances, depending on the direction you’re traveling from.

    • If you plan to enter through the south entrance, Jackson Hole, Wyoming is the closest airport.
    • If you plan to enter on the north side, Bozeman, Montana is the closest airport.
    • To the west, it’s Idaho Falls, Idaho and to the east, it’s Yellowstone Regional Airport near Cody, Wyoming.

Here’s a map of Yellowstone from the National Park Service to make planning your trip easier.

Specific meeting time and location will depend on the itinerary you choose. Once you and your guide agree on the details of your trip, your guide will suggest the best place to meet.

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